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November 12, 2019 6:21 AM

Why Now Is the Time to Map Your Graduate Programs for 2020

As the end of the year approaches and company departments wind down for the holiday season, now is the time for the savvy recruiter to get a head-start on preparations for 2020. And we’re not just talking about hitting the ground running on January 1st, we’re planning much farther ahead. You see, now is the perfect time to start mapping out your graduate programs and attendance at college jobs fairs for 2020.

Why is that?

Well, we’re glad that you asked, but before we answer, let’s first take a look at why you need fresh graduates in your workforce.

What’s so great about hiring graduates?

Diversity is key to a high-performing workforce, but it’s not just about gender and cultural background. A truly diverse workforce also includes a healthy mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm.

Hiring graduates straight from college offers you numerous benefits, chief of which is the fresh perspective they will bring to established methods and processes. Graduates, and millennial candidates in general, tend to question things more and if they think something can be improved upon, they’re more likely to speak up about it or suggest an alternative.

They’re also keen to learn and educate themselves further and often have that enthusiastic nature that can inspire older team members to raise their own levels of performance. This is why it’s essential that your graduate program clearly outlines a path to career progression within the company.

Graduates are also great with technology with 95% of the current generation Z owning and using a smart device on a daily basis. Incredibly, 50% of this generation are connected to the internet for ten hours a day. So it’s safe to say, they’re quite comfortable with tech and should have no problem learning how to use internal software and tools.

Why now is the time to prepare for graduation season

The holiday season is fast approaching and if you read our post on recruiting during the holidays, then you’ll know that it can prove to be a fruitful time of the year for recruiters. People are on holidays and have more time to talk, and with the new year approaching, many see it as a time for new challenges.

But most importantly for us, it’s a time of the year when students have a lot of free time on their hands. Sure, final year students (the ones you’re targeting) may have a little study to do during the holidays, but with their final exams and the last day of school on the horizon, they’ll be thinking about one thing and one thing only – what will they do once they graduate?

With all that free time on their hands, the holiday season is when graduating students take the opportunity to look at the job market and see what’s available to them. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have your graduate program prepared and that these potential candidates know when and how they can apply.

This also presents you with the perfect opportunity to place your company at the front of their minds as they are about to enter the job market. By putting the work in now, and identifying future talent gaps (more on that below) you can start reaching out to final year students who may be a good fit for your graduate programs.


How to get started

Identify future talent gaps

It should go without saying that understanding where future talent gaps are expected within the company is key to your graduate recruitment efforts. This allows you to identify the schools and institutions where your potential graduate hires are most likely to come from.

However, when identifying these talent gaps it’s important to think long-term and not just for the coming year. Remember, that while you may hire a graduate in the summer, it could be some months before they are suitably trained to replace an outgoing member of staff or fulfill the duties of a newly created role.

Remember too that not all talent gaps are a result of staff leaving their roles or retiring.

According to research carried out by the World Economic Forum as many as 38% of businesses expect to expand their workforce due to automation by 2022. Add to that the prospect of your company conducting business in new markets and there could be a considerable shortfall in skills and talent in the not too distant future.

So take time to get a clear overview of what the future holds for the company in terms of both staffing issues and plans for expansion.

Consider all the options (not just the popular ones)

Remember what we said about the importance of diversity? Well, that also goes for diversity in terms of education. While it would be foolish to avoid the universities and colleges that typically produce stellar candidates with the right qualifications, it would be equally foolish to ignore the not-so-famous institutions.

Be prepared to think outside the box and target graduates from lower-ranking universities and colleges.

Including these schools in your search offers two significant benefits.

First and foremost is the fact that students from your less-popular institutions may have different skills and approaches. Although their qualifications may be similar, their lectures, course activities, and field experience may differ greatly from schools where talent is typically sourced from. This could offer you the perfect opportunity to integrate into your team a graduate with a fresh perspective as a result of their educational background.

Secondly, graduates from these schools will be less in demand than those from higher-ranking institutions. Recruiters will certainly still look to place them in their pipeline, but often as a back-up or plan B. This means that you may not have to work quite so hard to gain their attention.

Know your schools and your roles

Imagine if a candidate came to your company and knew nothing about the business. It would certainly do them no favors and the chances are, you’d eliminate them immediately.

Now imagine if the roles were reversed. If you show up at a jobs fair with only a basic knowledge of the school your potential candidates attended or the qualifications they attained, it’s not a good look. Likewise, if a graduate asks for more information on the role and you can’t even understand the basic industry terminology associated with said role, you’ll look incredibly unprofessional.

Of course, learning about a role and its responsibilities is basic common sense for a recruiter. But learning about the schools whose graduates you plan to hire may not be. So take it upon yourself to learn a little about their course work and qualifications before you reach out with a view to hiring them.

Create your package and perfect your pitch

Last, but by no means least, you’ll need to create the right package and work on your pitch.

But remember that salary and benefits are only part of what attracts a graduate to your program and company. They want to see a clearly defined path for career progression and know that, as a company, you will support their efforts to further educate themselves.

They also want to know that the company they work for is a morally responsible one. With this in mind, make sure to highlight any corporate social responsibility programs the company is engaged in. 

Are you struggling to map out your graduate programs? Does your team find it hard to source graduates who are the right fit for your culture? Are you unsure which schools may have suitable candidates for your roles? Then we’d like to help. Here at vsource, we’ve mastered the art of sourcing the right people for the right roles, and that includes graduate programs. Want to know more? Then book a free no obligation demo today and we’ll help you start 2020 on the right foot.

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